Tom Miller

We love you, Uncle Xi!

In 2015, I had lunch with an old chum of Xi Jinping. He described how China’s most powerful leader since Chairman Mao was born into the Communist party’s ‘red aristocracy’ but had to toughen up fast when his father was jailed in the Cultural Revolution. The young Xi briefly became a street hoodlum who swore

Will China become Afghanistan’s new sponsor?

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Last month, the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi welcomed senior Taliban leaders to Beijing, standing shoulder to shoulder for the photographers. China is carefully watching events unfold in Afghanistan. And while it hasn’t yet recognised the Taliban government, the Beijing meeting was a nod towards a potential alliance. But replacing America in Afghanistan wouldn’t be

The US tech companies behind China’s mass surveillance

In January, the United States declared that China’s brutal treatment of the Uighur people in Xinjiang amounted to genocide. ‘I believe this genocide is ongoing, and we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy the Uighurs by the Chinese party-state,’ said Mike Pompeo, the former US secretary of state. British MPs made a similar declaration

The Tibetans’ fight for freedom continues — but only just

‘Free Tibet!’ used to be a rallying cry for Hollywood A-listers and rock stars. Richard Gere hung out with the Dalai Lama; the Beastie Boys organised a series of giant benefit concerts. Global attention has shifted to other regions suffocating under the jackboot of the Chinese Communist party (CCP), notably Xinjiang and Hong Kong. But

A separation of powers

In 2014, Beijing and Moscow signed a US$400 billion deal to deliver Russian gas to Chinese consumers. Construction of the Power of Siberia pipeline began last summer on the banks of the Amur river, known in Chinese as the Black Dragon river. It marks a rapprochement between two powers who have warily eyed each other

The crackdown that backfired

In October 2013, a jeep ploughed through a crowd of pedestrians on the edge of Tiananmen Square, crashed and burst into flames, killing five people. The authorities identified the driver as Uighur, a member of an Islamic ethnic minority hailing from China’s northwest region of Xinjiang. Six months later, eight knife-wielding Uighurs rampaged through a